Friday, April 15, 2011

Weekend preview

Field of Miracles won her race on Thursday at Kempton for a nice winning recommendation. The Gosden stable is on fire currently as it again won with Imperial Pippin at Newbury today, and is to be followed. Lots to look forward to this week-end in both football and racing.

The matches in the Premier League look quite competitive, and I can't really find any sure-fire bets. Even Chelsea is exposed when visiting West Brom, who've become a resurgent team under Roy Hodgson. There seems to be better value looking at the semi-final FA Cup match between the 2 Manchester teams. Man City will be massively disadvantaged with the loss of Carlos Tevez to injury. Their best player could have caused problems in the Utd defence. On the other hand, Man Utd are on a roll right now, and it's always been hard to stop them once they have that kind of momentum. The Red Devils have been overwhelming City in the last few years in the Premier League although that one could argue that City have ridden some hard luck in a few of those games. I don't put much emphasis on history but it's hard to go against Utd with the vein of form they are in. They should win or draw this match even without Wayne Rooney. I recommend them as draw-no-bet.

This was supposed to be THE Clasico game in La Liga which everyone had been looking forward to since the 5-0 drubbing of Madrid at the Nou Camp some months back. It turns out Saturday's Clasico has lost some of the luster because not only are Barcelona 8 points ahead, but there are 3 more Clasicos of higher importance to be played in the few weeks; the Copa del Rey final and the semi-final matches of the Champions League! So, tomorrow's league match has paled in significance given that even a Madrid win would probably still not have an impact on the championship race. The theory brewing in both of the managers' minds is how can they win tomorrow's game without giving much away in terms of tactics and strategy for the remaining 3 games. As a result, both teams are probably not going to be playing desperation football tomorrow. Madrid will certainly have more urgency since they haven't beaten their opponents in 6 seasons, and will feel tomorrow might be the time to do so. Losing however, will only aggravate the mental barrier they've trying to overcome against their arch-rivals. For this reason, Mourinho will try not to lose this game. If someone really needs to have a punt on this one, I would recommend Real Madrid as a draw-no-bet.

In Italy, I think Milan is a good draw-no-bet at home against Sampdoria. In the Bundesliga, I like Wolfsburg's and Borussia Dortmund's chances at home to St Pauli and Freiburg respectively, so they are good draw-no-bets.

In racing, it's the return of much-vaunted Frankel, the potential superstar for this Flat season. There was disappointment a couple of weeks ago when another much-talked-about star St Nicholas Abbey petered out on his seasonal debut at the Curragh. Hopefully for racing, Frankel won't disappoint. It's tough to gauge his chances on Saturday; the vibes from the Henry Cecil camp is that he's wintered well and in good form. However, the yard is hardly in form itself and has seen quite a few well-fancied representatives disappoint lately; Twice Over in the DWC, Bullet Train, Midsummer Fun, All Time among others, have been well-fancied but finished far from the podium. The main opposition I believe will come from Strong Suit from the Hannon yard that is starting to fire on all cylinders. He will like the fast ground and the fast pace that seems to be a given with the inclusion of Picture Editor as pacemaker. I like Strong Suit as a Place punt.

Place: Strong Suit
Draw-no-bet: Man Utd, Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Wolfsburg, AC Milan

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